NEWS: Izzo gunning for Olympic qualification


Central Coast Mariners’ goalkeeper Paul Izzo has taken a huge step towards becoming an Olympian and has been named in Aurelio Vidmar’s Olyroos squad for the final round of 2016 Olympic Games qualifying.

Izzo is one of 12 Hyundai A-League players selected in Vidmar’s squad and looks at the prospect of heading to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games as a “privilege” despite missing minutes with the Yellow & Navy.

“To be able to say at the end of your career that you’ve been to the Olympics is an absolute privilege,” Izzo said.

“But on the other side it’s tough, we work very hard to get into the [Mariners] squad but when we get back we’re just going to have to work even harder to make our way back in.”

Vidmar spoke about the tough but exciting journey ahead for his Olyroos.

“The squad contains 12 players from our National Competition and the A-League clubs and coaches should be congratulated for the part they play in developing these players,” Vidmar said.

“We have taken the group through an important journey with qualifying, camps and friendly matches but this is a step up in class that they have to take in their development as international football players.

“We head to Qatar for a tough tournament but we have a good group of players that and we’re confident we can qualify for the Olympic Games, which is a great opportunity for the players.”

The Olyroos will head to Dubai for a seven day camp before the opening match in Group D against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 14 January at the Grand Hamad Stadium. The Olyroos also play Vietnam (17 January) and Jordan (20 January) with the top two teams progressing to the quarter finals.

The top three teams will qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games Football Tournament.

Mariners’ Head Coach Tony Walmsley is working with Goalkeeper Coach Matt Nash to recruit cover for Paul Izzo whilst he is away with the Olyroos.

Match Details

Australia v UAE
14 January 2016
Grand Hamad Stadium
7.30pm (3.30am 15 January AEDT)

Vietnam v Australia
17 January 2016
Grand Hamad Stadium
4.30pm (12.30am 18 January AEDT)

Jordan v Australia
20 January 2016
Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium
7.30pm (3.30am 15 January AEDT)

Possible quarter final – 23 January 2016
Possible semi final – 26 January 2016
Possible 3rd/4th playoff – 29 January 2016
Possible Final – 30 January 2016